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Florida Board of Governors to students: we ‘strongly recommend’ you get vaccinated

The state has a ban on schools and government agencies from requiring people to show proof of vaccination.
Kory Giles, 19 (left) and his mentor, Kerri Davis, 19, study inside the Marshall Student Center at the University of South Florida campus on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020 in Tampa. Students are being encouraged to get vaccinated to return to campus this fall.
Kory Giles, 19 (left) and his mentor, Kerri Davis, 19, study inside the Marshall Student Center at the University of South Florida campus on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020 in Tampa. Students are being encouraged to get vaccinated to return to campus this fall. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Jul. 27

As COVID-19 cases climb, the Florida Board of Governors sent a letter to all students Tuesday “strongly” encouraging them to get vaccinated before the fall semester begins and operations at state universities prepare to resume their pre-pandemic level of activities.

All 12 state university presidents as well the board chair, Syd Kitson, and State University Chancellor Marshall Criser signed off on a brief letter that emphasized the importance in bold print:

“To help us provide high-quality classes, student services, extracurricular activities, and athletic programs in a healthy environment, we strongly recommend that all students get vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus before arriving on campus,” the letter said.

The letter stopped short of requiring such vaccinations. Florida legislators passed a bill this session that prohibits businesses, schools and government agencies from requiring people to show documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccinations.

The state universities have requirements for other vaccines for incoming students, including MMR, hepatitis B and meningococcal vaccines.

Earlier this year, the private Nova Southeastern University said it would require vaccines for students, faculty or staff before returning to campus. It later rescinded the requirement in light of the law.

Related: RELATED: Nova Southeastern University requires COVID vaccines before fall classes

Earlier this week, DeSantis, too, encouraged vaccination on stronger terms.

Related: RELATED: Coronavirus is surging in Florida. Is the state doing enough to fight vaccine hesitancy?

The University of South Florida sent out a message to students in March, encouraging them to get vaccinated and to hold on to their vaccination cards but said it is not tracking vaccination status at this time.